Ten leading scholars and practitioners of politics, political science, anthropology, Israel studies, and Middle East affairs address the theme of continuity and change in political culture as a tribute to Professor Myron (Mike) J. Aronoff whose work on political culture has built conceptual and methodological bridges between political science and anthropology.
Topics include the legitimacy of the two-state solution, identity and memory, denationalization, the role of trust in peace negotiations, democracy, majority-minority relations, inclusion and exclusion, Biblical and national narratives, art in public space, and avant-garde theater. Countries covered include Israel, Palestine, the United States, the Basque Autonomous Region of Spain, and Poland. The first four chapters by Yael S. Aronoff, Saliba Sarsar, Yossi Beilin, and Nadav Shelef examine aspects of the conflict and peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, including alternative solutions. The contributions by Naomi Chazan, Ilan Peleg, and Joel Migdal tackle challenges to democracy in Israel, in other divided societies, and in the creation of the American public. Yael Zerubavel, Roland Vazquez, and Jan Kubik focus their analyses on aspects of national memory, memorialization, and dramatization. Mike Aronoff relates his work on various aspects of political culture to each chapter in an integrative essay in the Epilogue.
Yael S. Aronoff is director of the Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel and is the Serling Chair in Israel Studies at Michigan State University and teaches in James Madison College.
Ilan Peleg is founding editor-in-chief of Israel Studies Forum, the scholarly journal of the Association for Israel Studies.
Saliba Sarsar is professor of political science at Monmouth University.
Yael S. Aronoff, Ilan Peleg, and Saliba Sarsar
Section I: Conflict and Peace
Yael S. Aronoff
Nadav G. Shelef
The Case of the Settlement Freeze in the Oslo Process
Section II: Challenges to Democracy
The Israeli Case in a Globalized Context
Inclusion and Exclusion in American Cities
Section III: National Memory, Memorialization, and Dramatization
the Excesses of Nationalism and Idiocy of State Socialism
Myron J. Aronoff
About the Contributors
Continuity and Change in Political Culture: Israel & Beyond recalls Myron J. Aronoff’s innovative re-inventing of political culture over the course of his illustrious career, allowing him to uncover how power is exerted and legitimacy earned. The contributors to this festschrift elaborate and extend his insistent reimagining of a re-democratized Israel at peace with a viable Palestinian state.
How fitting is it that a volume in tribute to Professor Myron Aronoff—one of the academic giants in the field of culture and politics—is itself a vital resource for understanding Israeli culture, politics and the peace process. Aronoff’s work has inspired scholars for several generations; that influence has also been personal: for example, his 2009 analysis of the Camp David Summit—'Camp David Rashomon'—was a building block for my own work on lessons learned and unlearned in peace negotiations. This volume is truly a living legacy to a leading American professor.
This is a fitting tribute to one of the pioneers in the academic study of modern Israel. The editors have mobilized top scholars in the field who have contributed cutting-edge essays on the most critical aspects of Israel studies, together with an arresting comparative dimension. The book stands on its own as a penetrating overview of Israeli politics, society, and culture. It would be an outstanding choice as a text for any course on Israel, as well as for many courses in comparative politics. But it would also serve as a illuminating introduction for the general reader looking for that one book on Israel that would put everything into perspective.
This Festschrift contains unique very illuminating useful essays stimulated by Myron Aronoff’ s special achievement getting Ph.D.’s in Political Science and Anthropology, enabling him to explore how cultural identity, especially the memory of catastrophes, shapes politics in deeply divided democratic societies. All contributors are academics with important publication achievements. Two were also important Israeli politicians, Yossi Beilin the 1992 Oslo Accords architect who examines the absence of trust in the negotiations, and Naomi Chazan evaluates the recent erosion of Israeli democracy when the government abandoned the two-state solution.
The focus is the Israeli-Palestinian relationship though American, Basque and Polish tensions get some attention. There appears to be complete agreement that the two -state paradigm is the only way to solve the Israel-Palestinian problem. Yael Aronoff provides a systematic comprehensive analysis of the issue and the challenges to it. Saliba Sarsar notes Israelis focus on the Holocaust while Palestinians focus on Al-Nakba (catastrophe) when nearly 40% left the country. Each side focuses on their own suffering and will not recognize the other party’s. The book is essential for Israel politics courses and those examining intense ethnic conflicts in democracies.
Continuity & Change offers a wealth of insight into two fields to which Myron Aronoff made such pioneering contributions: the fundamental relationship between politics and culture, and the understanding of Israeli political culture. With contributions by some of the major figures in these two fields, the book offers rich rewards to anyone interested either in that complex yet fascinating subject of Israeli politics or in the role played by symbols and ritual in political life.